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The Censorship of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour

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Dec 12, 2013
Dec 12, 2013
Elebash Recital Hall


The ACLU’s First Gay Rights Case

In response to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act in the ACLU’s Windsor case, the Segal  Center will present Intermeddlers: Excerpts from The Children’s Hour & the 1936 Case to Have it Banned in Boston. In IntermeddlersThe Children’s Hour is interspersed with dramatic reinterpretations of one of the first court cases to focus  in the censorship of gay and lesbian content in literature and art.

The Children’s Hour, first presented in 1934, was the subject of one of the first landmark court cases to  address the censorship of gay and lesbian subject matter; after meeting huge success on Broadway, it was slated to run in Boston but was banned  by the city’s public censor because of its “lesbian content.”

In 1936, the play’s producer and the ACLU teamed up to challenge the ruling in  federal court, marking the ACLU’s first “gay rights” case and bringing the public censor under intense public scrutiny. While the play’s ban was upheld by the  courts, gay rights and the censorship of gay and lesbian themes in the arts became part of the public conversation.

The reading of Intermeddlers will be followed by a discussion with Amanda Goad, Staff Attorney, LGBT and AIDS Project, American Civil Liberties Union, and Jordan Schildcrout, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance at SUNY Purchase, moderated by Jim Wilson, Professor of Theatre at The Graduate Center, CUNY.